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Pain when opening mouth wide or eating, jaw pain. What could be the problem?

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ENT Specialist
Practicing since : 2001
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hi i am 29 year old Male. since last week i feel pain when i open my mouth wide, while eating and chewing the food i feel pain on my right side of jaw. i never had this problem in my life befor. what could be the problem and to whome should i concern.
i do exercise on regular basis, i am a smoker and take alcohols on alternate days. i never had a problem with my jaws and never had a pain while eating and opening my mouth . the pain happens only when i open my mouth and it happens only on right side of mouth.
Posted Wed, 23 May 2012 in TMJ
Answered by Dr. Naveen Kumar 53 minutes later


Thanks for the query

The description mentioned by you could be of either (R) temporo-mandibular joint (TMJ) arthritis or tonsillo-pharyngitis.

Temporo-mandibular joint arthritis is the one of the commonest conditions causing unilateral pain over face and particularly on opening the mouth. The TMJ is a “ball and socket” type of joint, enclosed in a fluid filled sac. Whenever there is reduction of this fluid or wear out of the joint surfaces, the smooth gliding of the joint is restricted and the muscles’ holding the jaw has to bear the brunt of it. Gradually, there is straining of the jaw muscles leading to headache and pain over the affected side. TMJ pain disorders usually occur because of the unbalanced activity, spasm, or overuse of these jaw muscles.

Secondly, unilateral tonsillar swelling or pharyngitis can also give rise to pain over the affected side. This is usually seen in smokers and those people suffering from acid reflux disease. This is usually confirmed after a complete examination of the oral cavity.

The treatment of the TMJ arthritis includes rest of the affected joint and to chew on the opposite side, avoiding hard food, application of topical pain relievers and oral analgesics.

I would suggest you to consult a good ENT specialist for a complete evaluation and treatment of the same.

Hope I have answered your query; I will be available for the follow-up queries.

Dr. Naveen Kumar N.
ENT and Head & Neck Surgeon
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Pain when opening mouth wide or eating, jaw pain. What could be the problem? 39 minutes later
Thanks for the quick response Dr. XXXXXXX

I have read it and feeling bit secure with your suggestions , this pain is in muscles and as there is one suggestion to eat from other side , i tried that and i still found it difficult to chew things coz whenever i try to chew the pain is there , not able to chew things properly , and even if i have to chew from other side i have to open my mouth for that quantity , but when i does this it results into a pain.

is it a problem of muscles , or any other possibility is there ?

Thanks in advance.
Answered by Dr. Naveen Kumar 10 hours later

Thanks for writing back

Acute TMJ dysfunction can cause spasm of the muscles supporting the joint; this is reason for increased pain on opening the mouth.

This can be controlled with muscle relaxants and short course of oral steroids. Apart from these, there are few other treatment modalities such as, mild massage of the involved muscles, wearing XXXXXXX Intra-Aural Device (CID) inside the ear canal to support the joint, intra-articular steroid injections, etc.

If the symptoms do not subside, you can get a CT scan which can provide detailed images of the bones involving the joint, and a MRI to look for problems within the joint's disk.

My advice to you is to consult a good ENT or a facio-maxillary surgeon for a complete evaluation and management.

Wish you good health.

Dr. Naveen Kumar N.
ENT and Head & Neck Surgeon
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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